Mud Vulcanoes – Pâclele, Romania

 

It’s so close to Bucharest, yet it has remained on my bucket list for years: the Mud volcanoes in Pâclele, Buzău County. The Volcanoes are actually not real volcanoes, but small volcano-shaped structures a few meters high caused by the eruption of gas from 3000 meters depth. Before reaching the surface the gas is passing layers of clay and water which at the surface finally creates the volcano shapes.

In addition, it’s an interesting hilly area very close to most of the epicenters of all the earthquakes in Romania. Also, there is a lot of oil exploration going on since many years.

I had done my homework creating a GPS route and was ready for a discovery-solo-ride. As always these kinds of rides gives both highs and lows. I started from Berca by the Buzău river.

I get going up the hills from Berca. I don’t really understand the concept but I can’t blame the guy for not being consistent.

Petroleum road…

A look back

The last climb up to the small volcano area (Pâclele Mici)

Mud is one thing. Clay another. Should be called clay volcanoes… It was simply too sticky to get closer than this

I found a nice way to reach the bigger volcano area (Pâclele Mari)

Shit volcano

Pâclele Mari

The beauty of exploring a new area on your own is that sometimes you come across pleasant surprises in terms of trails, people, landscape or whatever. Other times you simply have to deal with situations you couldn’t predict. And it’s only up to you right there on spot. Other times it’s just about to get to know the area for future rides. One learning here was to use this awesome trail the other way, even though it wasn’t too bad doing it uphill.

I wasn’t alone after all…

Thanks God I plotted a GPS route to follow. Without it I would have spent a long time finding my way to the gravel road I was aiming for

Nice views and nice trail on this ridge at approx. 500 meter above sea level

This downhill looked like a nightmare in terms of mud but was just enough frozen to enable me to ride on top of everything

I arrive at the village of Beciu

The road out of there has started to totally slide away. Further on I had to find another route as the road works was going on to reconstruct the road after an even bigger land slide. Actually I would have suspected more of this as it’s only like 20-30km away from the epicenter of the vast majority of all the earthquakes we have in Romania.

So, the area is still an active oil field. About 100 years ago Romania was the third largest oil producer in the world. Nowadays the ranking is low but oil and gas are still a big part of the GDP and the last years Romania has managed without gas import and I think somewhere around 40% self-sufficient on oil. The pumps on the hills look like grazing mechanical animals

I find my way and get the tires cleaned from mud by speed

These guys are busy slaughtering a pig.

Just some pics from the villages I passed by

The highs and lows of a discovery ride… I was intending to go up a ridge to take a long downhill on a ridge down to Berca but the clay was stopping any attempt. Mud tires:

After two major cleaning sessions I got back to the country road. Not too bad after all, as it started to drizzle. Anyway a nice ride all in all. This is what it looks like in Google Earth

And all those hills added up to 1000 meters in vertical climb and some 40km.

 

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